Insurance Practices for Issues With Mold
Mold grows where there is a significant presence of water
Mold litigation has been a cause of concern for many insurance providers, as increased attention on mold has many contractors, property owners, and employers feeling the pressure for cleaner air quality. Mold insurance claims have risen in past years, with bodily injury complaints testing the scientific evidence on symptoms of mold exposure. Understanding how general liability insurance addresses situations involving mold is one way to determine how to approach mold remediation and personal claims of damages.
Mold Exposure Claims
Typically, claims surrounding mold include the following elements:
- Construction defects
- Maintenance delays
Because mold grows where there is a significant presence of water in the structure or high levels of humidity in the air, these reasons are seen as initiating the conditions for growth. The resulting damage to the property and any costs incurred for the professional remediation and cleanup are sometimes excluded from a general liability policy, depending on the terms of the coverage, but most often are included.
Inevitably, those looking to capitalize on a settlement may also put forth claims of bodily injury during their mold insurance claims. These are often more successful than a claim recouping the expense of remediation, as a secondary property damage claim would be opened to address those costs.
Commercial properties are at a disadvantage when it comes to claims involving mold and damage, as they are held against pollution exclusion standards as well as owned, rented, or occupied building exclusions. This can make it more difficult to pinpoint where the liability for mold issues falls, and insurance companies can choose to make honoring the general liability policy difficult.
The details of mold insurance claims are incredibly complex and best explained by a local insurance agent with experience underwriting specific policies and filing damage claims. The nature of the claim, as well as the originating source of the mold, will affect the probability of being covered.
What a Professional Sewer Cleanup Company Does
Call a professional for sewage damage cleanup
Sewage is never fun to clean. If you are having problems with sewage inside your home, there is a good chance that you need to call in a professional sewer cleanup company to deal with it. It is important to know what to do before the professionals come out and what they will do when they get there.
Sewage Damage Cleanup
No one likes to deal with sewage, but there are a few things that you need to do before the professionals get there. You should:
- Turn off the water and power to your home
- Tell the cleanup company what you know
If you have to go into the area, you should wear protective equipment to ensure that you are safe. Sewer water contains contaminants the will make you, your children and your pets very sick.
The Professionals Part
The first thing a sewer cleanup company will do is assess the damage. They often make a list of items or areas that need attention and give you an idea of what needs to be fixed or replaced.
Once the damage is assessed, the company will drain the water out of the area and clean up any solid waste. They usually bring pumps in to do this.
If the area is still wet, they will bring in fans, drying chemicals and dryers to dry the area completely. This prevents mold and mildew from growing.
Once the area is drained and dry, a good cleanup company will fix any sewer backup or blockage. This is to prevent the problem from happening again. They will also disinfect and sanitize any surfaces using special cleaners.
Once they are done with the main sewer cleanup, they will remove any items that cannot be cleaned. They understand the proper sewage disposal laws in Colorado Springs, CO, and will dispose of it properly.
If the damage is something simple like a flooded toilet, there is a chance you can take care of it yourself. If it is any more than that, you are better off calling in the professionals to help you deal with cleaning up the sewage.
Tips for Water Damage Prevention
Fix leaks before having secondary damage.
When homeowners think of water damage, they usually imagine a large flooding event from a storm or water main break, but small things such as undetected leaks can cause a lot of problems, too. Damage from water in your home in Colorado Springs, CO, is not inevitable, though. There are several things you can do to prevent it from happening.
4 Tips to Prevent Water Damage
1. Have a Consistent Maintenance Schedule
Most water damage is entirely preventable. All you need to do is update your maintenance checklist to ensure that it includes leak prevention tasks:
- Clean gutters and downspouts
- Minimize landscaping near pipes or sewer lines
- Check pipes and supply lines for weak spots or leaks
- Maintain appliances
- Winterize pipes before the first big freeze of the year
2. Improve Water Loss Detection
Another way to prevent damage is to head potential problems off at the pass. To do this well, you have to know when they start. An unusually high water bill could be a sign of a leak that leads to water in your home. A working sump pump in your basement protects it even when you are not there.
3. Know Where Your Water Main is Located
A broken pipe is not always something you can prevent, but you can minimize the amount of water it releases by turning off your water main. The shutoff valve stops the flow of water into your pipes so that you can get the issue resolved.
4. Fix Leaks and Damage Quickly
Even if your home is damaged by an unpredictable accident, quick pipe cleanup can help you prevent secondary damage. It's important to call water restoration experts as soon as you know there is an issue so that they can stop the progress of the seepage and prevent mold growth.
To prevent water in your home from causing extensive problems, you have to be diligent. Proper maintenance and vigilant attention to changes help you safeguard the structural integrity of your house.
4 Tips for Preparing Your Business for Flood
Prepare your building for flooding.
Floods can be and are often unpredictable. Heavy rains and overflowing bodies of water are just two common causes of flooding. Different areas of the country have different levels of flood risks. It's impossible to be totally prepared for every possibility, but there are measures you can take to make a significant difference in the event a disaster occurs.
4 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Flood
1. Create an Emergency Kit
Create an emergency kit with all the essentials stocked in case of a flood. It should include a well-supplied first aid kit, medicines, non-perishable food, a can opener, eating utensils, bottled water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, spare batteries, blankets and any essential phone numbers.
2. Assess Your Insurance
Call your insurance agent to ensure you have enough of the correct insurance type to provide an adequate coverage amount for whatever might occur. See if you can add coverage for flooding, as well as business interruption coverage. This can cover you from property destruction, black water cleanup and sanitization, and lost revenue if the business has to shut down for a while. As water damage restoration professionals return the building to its preloss condition, you can continue to pay your employees.
3. Design an Emergency Evacuation Plan
Some roads will be blocked by high water or debris, such as downed tree limbs during a flood. Check with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for topography maps of your area. This provides a way to plan alternate routes for your employees to navigate home safely.
4. Backup Important Documents and Data
All of your important documents, whether digital or paper documents, must be backed up. These include insurance documents, employee files, vendor contact information, contracts, etc. You should save digital files to the cloud and make copies of paper documents to be kept off-site.
Whether your Colorado Springs, CO, building's location is particularly susceptible to flooding or not, you must be prepared for flood damage for your employees' safety and the preservation of your business.
Supply Line Changes
Supply line from a leaking refrigerator caused severe water damage.
Your water supply lines in your home in Colorado Springs, CO, help to bring water into your home, ensuring appliances in your home such as toilets, showers, sinks and bathtubs have adequate water flow. As a homeowner, it's often useful to know about supply line damage and the importance of replacing supply lines.
FAQs About Supply Line Changes
What Are Signs of Damage to a Supply Line?
A damaged supply line can cause major damage to your home, and homeowners whose homes have sustained excessive amounts of water damage may find it useful to contact water damage restoration experts. There are several common signs that your supply line may be damaged, including:
- Mold growth near or around your supply line
- A musty odor in your bathroom
- A sudden, unexplained spike in your water bills
- Low water pressure in sinks or showers
- A bathroom leak
How Often Should You Replace Your Supply Line?
Different types of lines are prone to different types of supply line damage, and therefore, there isn't a set period of time that every line should be replaced. Plastic supply lines generally come with a warranty of about five to eight years; any point after this time, you may need to replace them. However, steel braided supply lines frequently come with a lifetime warranty and generally do not need to be replaced as frequently as plastic supply lines.
Can You Prevent Damage to Your Supply Lines?
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent damage to your supply line. To prevent major damage, know common signs of supply line issues. If you do suspect a supply line leak, it's often important to quickly shut off the water in your home. If older lines or plastic lines need to be replaced, it can also be cost-effective long-term to install durable steel braided supply lines.
As with any element in your home, it can be wise to learn about supply lines. Though supply line damage has the potential to devastate your home, being knowledgeable about signs of damage, when to replace your supply line and how to prevent damage can help you to keep your supply lines functioning at their best.
7 Steps for Replacing a Toilet
Apply caulk to the new toilet bowl to avoid leaks.
If you discover a leaking toilet at your home in Colorado Springs, CO, toilet repair may not be an option if the leak is severe. You might have to replace the old toilet. Even if you're new to this type of job, it should still be relatively easy.
Steps to Replace a Toilet
Here are the steps:
1. Shut Off the Water Supply
First, shut off the water at the supply line. Then, flush the toilet to drain the water. Next, the water supply line must be disconnected from the bottom of the toilet tank. You must then remove the bolts on the toilet's base.
2. Remove the Old Toilet and Wax Seal
You'll see a caulk seal around the bowl's base. It needs to be cut out. The toilet should be movable. Now it's time to remove the leaking toilet, then remove the wax seal. If you see that damage has occurred from the leak, you might need to call water damage remediation professionals to take care of it before installing the new toilet.
3. Apply Caulk to the New Bowl
Caulk then needs to be applied to the base of the new bowl. This will make the installation look cleaner and will keep leaks at bay.
4. Install the New Wax Ring and Bowl
Place the new wax ring between the bolts. Then, put the bowl into place. The wax seal will be compressed by the bowl's weight.
5. Grease the Spud Washer
At the base of the tank is a spud washer. Put a coat of plumber's grease on it. Then place the tank as you're lining up the mounting bolts.
6. Tighten the Tank's Bolts
Place the washer on the bolts and then tighten the nut. Then, fully tighten the inner-tank bolts and place the mounting bolts on the bowl's base.
7. Ensure the Toilet Is Level and Test for Leaks
Ensure the toilet is level. Reconnect the water line and turn on the water. When the tank fills, test for leaks by flushing the toilet.
A leaking toilet can be a real inconvenience. However, if it can't be repaired, it should be replaced as soon as possible before the problem worsens.
The Basic Workings of Fire Sprinklers
Fire Sprinklers are required
Fire sprinkler systems are required in commercial and residential buildings; you've probably noticed the sprinkler heads on the ceiling. They're invaluable fire suppression tools for protecting lives, structures and contents. Most people don't know exactly how fire sprinklers work, though.
Basics of Fire Sprinklers
Here are a few of the basics:
1. There Are Different Types of Sprinkler Pipe Systems
There are two main types of pipe systems. A wet pipe system keeps water pressurized in the pipes. The water is immediately released when a sprinkler head is activated. In a dry pipe system, pressurized air, not water, is collected in the pipes. Therefore, when a sprinkler head is activated, the air is released from the lines. This release of air allows the water to flow through the pipes.
2. Sprinklers Detect Heat, Not Smoke
Many people think smoke triggers fire sprinkler heads, but this isn't true. They are actually triggered by extreme heat. The fire heats the air above the flames quickly as the air flows across the ceiling. Fire sprinklers are typically designed to activate when the heat reaches 135 - 165 degrees.
3. Sprinkler Heads Activate Individually
Sprinkler heads activate individually, so only the ones in the fire's high temperature will activate (it could be one or multiple heads). They're designed this way to minimize water damage. Typically only one or two sprinklers are needed during a fire. This normally either stops the fire entirely or controls it until the fire department arrives.
4. Sprinklers Must Be Turned Off Manually
The sprinkler system has to be manually turned off at the main fire riser to stop the water flow. This riser is where the sprinkler system pipes connect to the building's main water supply. Water damage remediation professionals will be necessary to complete the fire sprinkler cleanup. Then, the activated sprinklers will have to be replaced.
The fire sprinkler system in your Colorado Springs, CO, building could make the difference between saving the building and its contents or sustaining a total loss. Now you know a little more about how these systems work.
5 Interesting Facts About Mold
Mold spores can be found nearly everywhere.
Few people get excited about discovering mold growth in their homes. Mold is typically just considered a nuisance, but it can potentially cause real problems. Either way, mold is actually an interesting, simple, yet very hardy little organism.
Interesting Facts about Mold
You might find it interesting that mold:
1. Has Many Types
More than 10,000 species of mold exist, and each type is unique. Surprisingly, only five of these species grow indoors. Stachybotrys Chartarum (aka black mold) is the most dangerous type of mold. Aspergillus is the most common mold in warmer climates, while Cladosporium is the most common in colder climates.
2. Can Be Useful
Contrary to popular belief, all mold isn't harmful. Some types can be extremely beneficial. Mold is a significant contributor to the pharmaceutical industry, used to develop some antibiotics. Mold is used in the fermentation process of specific wines. Some cheese wouldn't be possible without mold. In fact, commercially sold bleu cheese actually contains active spores. Mold gives the cheese its unique flavor.
3. Is Sometimes Invisible
When you think of mold, you may think of the greenish spots you find on foods, such as bread. Mold growth begins virtually invisible, though. It will first look like whitish spots, and these spores will travel throughout the food. Even if the food doesn't look moldy, it could be just the beginning.
4. Can't Grow on Glass, Concrete or Rocks
Mold can't grow on glass, concrete or rocks because they don't contain enough moisture to support mold. Even in high humidity, these surfaces don't provide anything for the mold to grow into.
5. Exists Virtually Everywhere
Mold spores can be found nearly everywhere, outdoors and indoors. Indoor mold can come from outdoor spores coming in through doors on shoes or clothing, or your dog or cat.
If you discover mold growth in your Colorado Springs, CO, home, it could result from water damage or high humidity. Either way, you can count on mold cleanup professionals to return your property to its preloss condition.
What You Need To Have Cleaned After a Flood
Clean your flooring after a flood.
Severe weather and storms can be devastating. The flood afterward can make things worse. When you are allowed to enter your home after a severe weather incident, you may look around at the damage and wonder how to begin.
The first thing that you want to do is call your insurance company. Many insurers recommend using a damage remediation company in Colorado Springs, CO because they know the cleaning requirements for these situations. There are very specific guidelines that you need to follow because flooding presents more dangers than just water.
4 Places That Need Cleaning After a Flood
When you begin your flood clean up process, you will need to clean your floor and, if you have carpet or vinyl, your subfloor. Mold or mildew can build up between your flooring and subfloor when you don't. These toxins can continue to grow unchecked. It can cause health effects to you or your family.
Your basement's cleaning requirements will depend on where you live and what type of basement you have. No matter what, the first thing you need to do is pump any remaining water out. Be sure to do this safely, because the flood water will be contaminated.
3. Ceilings and Walls
To clean your ceiling and walls, your cleaning company will have to use a flood disinfectant approved by the environmental protection agency. These cleaners contain harsh chemicals and may be unsafe if you do not have the proper personal protection equipment. Your cleaning company will already have this on hand.
4. Kitchen Surfaces and Dishes
If your kitchen floods, you have to pay particular attention to all of your kitchen surfaces and dishes. While the floodwaters recede, they can produce dangerous toxins, and these toxins have to be removed before you can use your kitchen surfaces and dishes again.
In the case of severe flooding, consider a qualified cleaning company. They will know all of the cleaning requirements for your area. They can make sure your home is safe to reenter.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Fire?
Renters insurance provides different coverages for various types of fire damage.
Because the property owner's insurance does not cover the personal property of tenants, it is important for renters to purchase their own coverage. The short answer to the question of whether renters insurance covers fire is that it does. However, different types of coverage apply to fire damage in different ways.
Different Types of Renter Insurance Coverage for Fire Damage
The primary reason for renters to purchase fire coverage is to replace personal property damaged or destroyed in a fire. Examples of personal property include:
- Home decor
Some types of property may be specifically excluded or have different limits, such as jewelry, cash, guns and musical instruments. Most policies cover personal property at replacement value, but some may cover it at actual cash value, which is the replacement value less depreciation. If you need a fire restoration service in Colorado Springs, CO, to clean your smoke damaged property, this may be covered by your policy.
Another coverage provided by most renters insurance policies is liability. This means that if you accidentally cause a fire in your rental unit, your liability coverage may pay for any damages to the building or injuries to other tenants or guests that you are legally liable for.
Medical Payments to Others
Most renters policies provide a small amount of coverage for medical payments to others. This is no-fault coverage, so it applies, even if you didn't cause the fire. This coverage might apply if you had a guest in your apartment and that person needed medical attention due to smoke inhalation from a fire in your kitchen.
Loss of Use
If a fire makes your apartment uninhabitable, loss of use coverage may apply. This coverage may reimburse you for additional living expenses, such as paying for a hotel room.
Renters insurance provides a variety of coverages for various types of fire damage. If you are unsure what your policy covers, your insurance professional can review your policy with you and make adjustments as needed.